Joint Committee on Statutory Instruments Third Report



APPENDIX 2

Memorandum by the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Food

COUNTRYSIDE STEWARDSHIP REGULATIONS 2000 (S.I. 2000/3048)

1. By a letter dated 14 December 2000, the Committee has requested that a memorandum be submitted on the following points:

    (1)  Are the provisions of regulations 4 to 9, or any of them, intended to apply to agreements made before these Regulations came into force? If so, explain why that is not made clear either in the definition of "agreement" in regulation 2(1) or in some other way.

2. Yes. The term "agreement" is defined by regulations 2(1) and 3(2), and is not confined to agreements made under these Regulations. It is submitted that it is apparent from other provisions of the Regulations, notably 5, 6(2), 7(3) and 10(1)(a), that "agreement" includes an agreement made before the Regulations came into force as well as an agreement made after their coming into force.

    (2)  Given that regulation 3(3)(b) provides that the Minister may only enter into an agreement which, in respect of any activity specified in column 1 of Part I, II, or III of the Schedule, does not require the Minister to make payments in excess of the maximum payment rate specified in column 2 thereof, explain why regulation 3(3)(c) provides that the Minister may only enter into an agreement which does not require the Minister to make payments in respect of any activities not specified in Part I or II of the Schedule.

3. The Committee has correctly pointed out a potential ambiguity. In seeking to simplify while consolidating the Regulations the Ministry failed to make a sufficiently clear distinction, in regulation 3(3)(b), between activities all of which are specified in Parts I and II of the Schedule and Part III of the Schedule which is not concerned with activities as such but with connected matters for which payment may be made. Regulation 3(3)(c) does not apply to Part III for that reason. The Ministry accepts the implicit criticism and will amend the Regulations at the next opportunity.

    (3)  Regulation 5(b) provides that a beneficiary's entitlement to receive payments shall be subject to the condition that he has complied with the requirements of regulation 7. Explain what requirements are imposed by regulation 7.

4. None. The reference should be to regulation 8. The Ministry apologises for this error and will amend the Regulations at the next opportunity.

    (4)  Regulation 7(3) refers to agreements which provide for "a payment at a rate less than the former maximum payment rate in respect of the year ending on 31 July 2000, and a payment in respect of the year ending on 31 July 2000. Explain why it does not refer to agreements which provide for a payment in respect of a year ending on any other date.

5. The activities referred to by this regulation are part of a pilot scheme operated by the Ministry and known as 'the Arable Stewardship Scheme'. As a matter of practice all agreements referable to this scheme end on 31 July. The terms of the cited activities, whose duration is less than the term of the agreements, also end on 31 July.

19 December 2000


 
previous page contents next page

House of Lords home page Parliament home page House of Commons home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2001
Prepared 2 April 2001